Preliminary Profiles

THE RACE IS ON, and democracy begins with knowledge. The Vermont Cynic’s two part feature continues this week, examining three of the front running candidates: John Edwards and Hillary Clinton (Democrats, in blue) and Mitt Romney (Republican, in red). The “Dean Scream” portion of each profile describes possible achilles heels for each candidate (harkening back to Howard Dean’s infamous roar, which ended his 2004 bid for president) provided by UVM political science professor John P. Burke.

Out of the countless issues confronting voters, The Vermont Cynic chose four important to the UVM population. These four are not, by any means, the most or the only critical issues facing college students today – it is important to decide for oneself on what basis to choose a candidate. This feature aims to provide a starting point on the long path to the ballot box.

HILLARY CLINTONFormer First Lady of the United States as well as of Arkansas, Lawyer

War in Iraq

“I came back from Iraq more determined than ever to stop the president’s escalation of troops into Iraq, and to start the long overdue redeployment of troops out of Iraq.”

What she’s done:

¥ Voted YES on initial Iraq War bill

¥ Introduced Iraq Troop Reduction & Protection Act of 2007

Same Sex Marriage

“I think that the vast majority of Americans find [gay marriage] to be something they can’t agree with. But I think most Americans are fair. And if they believe that people in committed relationships want to share their lives and, not only that, have the same rights that I do in my marriage, to decide who I want to inherit my property or visit me in a hospital, I think that most Americans would think that that’s fair and that should be done.”

What She’s done:

¥ Voted NO on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage

¥ Co-sponsored Non-Discrimination Act

Environment

“I support policies to diversify our energy supplies by investing in renewable energy technologies such as wind and solar development, advanced energy technologies such as clean coal and hydrogen fuel cells, and promoting environmentally responsible recovery of oil and gas resources.”

What she’s done:

¥ Served on the Environment and Public Works Committee

¥ Co-introduced the Comprehensive National Mercury Monitoring Act

¥ Introduced legislation to create a “Strategic Energy Fund”

¥ Voted YES on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations

Abortion

“One reason I continue to oppose efforts to criminalize abortion is that I do not believe any government should have the power to dictate, through law or police action, a woman’s most personal decision.”What she’s done:

¥ Served on the Environment and Public Works Committee

¥ Co-introduced the Comprehensive National Mercury Monitoring Act

¥ Introduced legislation to create a “Strategic Energy Fund”

¥ Voted YES on including oil & gas smokestacks in mercury regulations

DEAN SCREAM:

Iraq, Iraq, Iraq. Plus the “two for one” – Hillary and Bill – that worked in 1992, may turn off some voters (or inspire more), hard to tell. Has often had a political “tin ear”: the health care plan she shepherded in 1993 to1994 was a complete political fiasco. Political commentators often see her as being too “staged” and “guarded.”

JOHN EDWARDSFormer Senator from North Carolina, LawyerWar in Iraq

“America can once again be looked up to and respected around the world. The first step is by immediately withdrawing 40,000 to 50,000 troops from Iraq, with the complete withdrawal of all combat troops from Iraq within 12-18 months allowing the Iraqis to assume greater responsibility for rebuilding their own country.”

What he’s done:

“America can once again be looked up to and respected around the world. The first step is by immediately withdrawing 40,000 to 50,000 troops from Iraq, with the complete withdrawal of all com-bat troops from Iraq within 12-18 months – allowing the Iraqis to assume greater responsibility for rebuilding their own country.”

Same Sex Marriage

“I believe there is a fundamental right to privacy. I do not believe the government belongs in people’s bedrooms. I think that applies to both gay and lesbian couples and heterosexual couples.”

What he’s done:

¥ Voted NO on constitutional ban on same sex marriage

Environment

“Unlike President Bush, I support strong environmental protection, higher CAFE standards, protection of ANWR, and American leadership in the world’s battle against global warming.”

What he’s done:

¥ Platform for 2008 includes a comprehensive plan to pass a cap that will reduce emissions by 80 percent by mid-century; also calls “for an aggressive energy efficiency plan that will meet all of America’s growing energy needs, while requiring that a quarter of our nation’s electricity is produced from renewables by 2025.”

¥ Voted NO on more funding for forest roads and fish habitat

¥ Voted YES on Bush Administration Energy Policy

¥ Voted YES on taking away funds from renewable and solar energy

Abortion”I support a woman’s right to choose and believe that this right is constitutionally protected. I also support funding for family planning.”

What he’s done:

¥ Voted NO on criminal penalty for harming unborn fetus during another crime

¥ Voted NO on maintaining ban on military base abortions

¥ Voted NO on banning partial birth abortions

DEAN SCREAM:

Recent news of the return of his wife’s cancer, which has now spread into her bones is terrible (and serious). Unclear how voters will react. Long history before politics as a civil injury lawyer may turn off voter. Is one term in the Senate, and no other political background enough? Articulation may seem like “slickness” to some voters. Advantage of “been there, done that” may be “yesterday’s news” for others. Will John Kerry endorse him?

MITT ROMNEYFormer Governor of Massachusetts CEO of Bain & Company Management and Consulting Firm Co-Founder of Bain Capital Private Equity Investment Firm

War in Iraq

“Our desire to bring our troops home, safely and soon, is met with our recognition that if Iraq descends into all-out civil war, millions could die … I believe that so long as there is a reasonable prospect of success, our wisest course is to seek stability in Iraq, with additional troops endeavoring to secure the civilian population.”

What he’s done:

¥ Has claimed that withdraw from Iraq would be a mistake

¥ Supported war at first, believes Bush did not give adequate reasoning for war

Same Sex Marriage

“Throughout our history, when our country needed us, Americans have stepped forward, standing up to every challenge. We step forward by expressing tolerance and respect for all God’s children, regardless of their differences and choices. At the same time, because every child deserves a mother and a father, we step forward by recognizing that marriage is between a man and a woman.”

What he’s done:

¥ Put gay marriage ban into GOP platform

¥ Opposed Massachusetts Supreme Court ruling in favor of gay marriage, but upheld the law

¥ Stated that same sex domestic partners should be recognized in a way that includes health benefits and rights of survivorship

Environment

“Our environment has not been cleaned the way it could be … everything I’ve done over the last three years, I think, makes it clear that I’m very much connected with the people of our country and the people of our world.”

What he’s done:¥ Opposed Cape Wind offshore wind power plant in Nantucket Sound for fear of decreasing property values on Nantucket

¥ Proposed Climate Protection Plan to encourage Massachusetts citizens and requiring state agencies and businesses to reduce CO2 emissions

¥ Appointed environmental advocate and former president of the Conservation Law Foundation Douglas I. Foy to head of Massachusetts State Department

¥ Originally supported Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative for New England, but withdrew support in December of 2005

Abortion”On a personal basis, I don’t favor abortion. However, as governor of the commonwealth [of Massachusetts], I will protect a woman’s right to choose under the laws of the country and the commonwealth. That’s the same position I’ve had for many years.”

What he’s done:¥ Endorsed legalization of abortion drug RU-486¥ Vetoed bill requiring ER doctors to offer abortion medication to rape victims

DEAN SCREAM:He was governor, but of Massachu-setts? Is that blue state going to ring well to GOP voters? Has flip-flopped on gay rights and abortion rights. At least right now he is the more conservative of the top three GOP front-runners, but unfortunately his Mormon religion may be an issue among the conservative GOP religious right base. 1960 and Kennedy’s Catholicism all over again, but 48 years later. Ironically, compared to McCain and Giuliani, he is the only top three candidate married to his first wife.